When Addiction Takes Someone You Love
   In light of recent events surrounding the death of an actor who was, without a doubt, phenomenally talented (Obviously I'm referring to Phillip Seymour Hoffman).  I've seen some horrible and disturbing opinions regarding those who suffer (and believe me they suffer) from addictions of all forms.  I've seen people say they have no sympathy for someone who dies because of their addiction.  I've seen people actually say they don't have any compassion for someone who quote "throws their life away" as if it's as simple as that.  It just confirms how little our society really cares to understand (even those who personally know addicts) how addiction works or actually DO something other than saying "addicts are bad people" or "addicts are criminals and deserve punishment" etc.  People are content with assuming people should be alright once they've gone to rehab.  They don't even want to understand that rehabilitation for someone who has had an addiction is a lifelong struggle.  It will never be as simple as putting down the needle or the bottle of pills or alcohol. If it were that simple would we even be having the so called "War On Drugs" or have so many laws regarding drugs? Would people who have spent several years in prison have such a hard time staying clean on parole? Believe me when I say more people relapse on parole than those that don't. My husband sees this every single day in his job as a parole officer.  Now why am I so upset at all the negativity surrounding the way in which Phillip Seymour Hoffman died? Let me tell you a little story: 

   The first time I ever experienced real loss (at least in the eyes of a child) was when my imaginary friend "died" after I made some friends when we moved into our house.  I was around 4 1/2 or 5.  It was before I'd started kindergarten.  He was so real to me and I was so distraught that I had a funeral for him in my front yard.  I'd dug a little hole and sang a Whitney Houston song ("I'm Saving All My Love For You" with some of the lyrics changed to reflect that I was saving all my love for burying Speaky.  I have no idea why that was his name but whatever.  I was a kid with a wildly active imagination.). Why is this important for this post? Because it was important to my mom.  She had seen and heard me through the screen door.  She loved to tell the story.  She'd indulged me in always including Speaky in everything.  I got a cookie? So did Speaky. 

  I wish I could say my mom was the soccer mom who drove me and my brother to school and sports functions or who attended everything we did like school concerts or events like that.  The one time she DID help out with a Girl Scouts function she was drunk and slurring her words. The one time I can remember her going to a Parent/Teacher Conference was when I was in the 4th grade and she was also drunk that time as well and my teacher knew it.  Everyone knew it.  They just didn't talk about it.  For me, it was just part of my life. 
   I loved my mom.  When she was sober, her smile could light up a room.  She was funny and goofy and would even curl my hair or do my makeup.  She'd rub my back until her arm practically fell off.  She'd always say "Goodmight.  I love you. See you in the morning." when she tucked me in.  She'd let me watch scary movies when I'd beg her ( With the warning that I could watch only if I wouldn't sneak in my parents' bedroom if I got scared.  A warning I often ignored and she let me). She'd let me help her cook and make things like pumpkin pie or cookies.  I loved to do the fork marks in the peanut butter cookies (they just didn't taste the same without them). Even after my parents got divorced and my father got full custody, she'd come over or I'd get to visit her wherever she was living at the time.  Why am I telling you about all these seemingly normal things? Because I come across far too many people who almost dehumanize addicts.  She may have been a severe alcoholic, but she was still my mother.  She had sisters and brothers who loved her.  She had friends.  She was loved.  She lied, stole manipulated when her addiction got worse but she was mom and I didn't care.  I remember when she was going to take me to the fair in Eastlake, OH.  She didn't have a job, nor could she keep one.  My dad couldn't afford to take us either no matter how badly he wanted to.  She promised me though that if I let her sell my keyboard I had gotten for Christmas that she would use the money to take me.  It was ok because, according to her, we would get it back because the pawn shop would hold it for a shirt time until she could buy it back.  I didn't even care about that.  I wanted to go and I wanted her to go with me.  So we went.  I rode one ride and she used the leftover money to buy beer.  Then we had to leave because there wasn't any more money for tickets to ride more rides.  I should have been downright pissed at her.  I felt a little bit disappointed but it didn't matter because I got to spend a little bit of time with her even if she may not have been completely truthful.  Of course I never saw that keyboard again.  My dad was so angry.  More at her than me of course. She steadily got worse with drinking to the point where it was the first thing she did when she woke up.  Once she had been out drinking with people she didn't even know and they dumped her on our front lawn passed out.  It was one of the times I knew my dad still loved her because he wanted to find the people who casually dumped her there like a bag of trash.  I very rarely saw my dad get angry like he was that day.  
  She died when I was 11 after a couple of weeks in the hospital.  She went in and out of comas. The first few nights she was there she would hallucinate. Sometimes she'd be awake and alert. Those were the times she would cry and say how embarrassed and disappointed in herself she was.  She couldn't even have the photos of me and my brother facing her because she felt she was such a complete failure as a mother. Most of the time she was in a coma and eventually put on life support.  Her liver was essentially dead.  The doctors called a meeting when her kidneys failed and she needed dialysis to keep her alive.  My dad insisted that my brother and I be in the meeting even though the doctors thought it unwise.  My dad refused to let us be lied to.  I want to say they gave her something like a 15% chance of survival.  She couldn't get a transplant even though she was only 34.  Only just over 2 years older than my age now.  They don't give transplants to alcoholics.  She swelled up and turned an awful color yellow because her body couldn't fight the toxins in her body without her liver and kidneys.       Eventually I told her one day when she was in a coma that it was ok to stop fighting.  I forgave her and was not mad at her.  I prayed she would die.  I actually prayed that my own mother would finally give in and die because even at 11 I knew it meant she wouldn't be suffering anymore if she did.  The day she died my dad picked me up at my bus stop.  I knew right then that it must have been close to the end for her because my dad never left work early without a seriously good reason. When we got there they'd taken her off of life support, something I know was a difficult decision for her siblings to make.  She was actually awake.  I actually got to say goodbye after all the time she was in a coma, the one day she was awake was the same day she passed.  It wasn't until later that night that she died surrounded by her closest siblings.  We had gotten to the hospital minutes too late.  I remember so vividly asking my dad when we left why he was crying when he and my mom were divorced. That was another time I found out my dad still loved her.  His response was "Because the mother of my children just died." He was hurting just as badly as we were.  The asshole she was living with at the time didn't come to her funeral.  That was yet another time I knew my dad loved her still.  He swore if he ever saw the guy he'd seriously harm him.  Later my aunt Phyllis confirmed that he told her that day he'd still loved her but her alcoholism made it too difficult to stay married.

  So what's the point of my telling this long winded and sad story in a public way?  The point is that addiction is complicated. My mom loved us.  I knew she did.  I knew she loved my dad and never got over their divorce.  It made things even worse in terms of her drinking. She was an extremely sad drinker.  She'd put on sad songs and cry when she'd be wasted.  She'd drink until she would pass out and I would stay awake to make sure she wouldn't swallow her tongue (I was a kid.  I didn't know that you couldn't really swallow your tongue in the sense that I was thinking at the time.). She'd cry about giving my sister up because she was only a teenager when she'd gotten pregnant by a guy who didn't have any business sleeping with a sixteen year old girl whose mother was dying of cancer at the time.  My grandpa had died when she was just a kid.  She already smoked by this point and was hanging out with a guy who eventually went to prison for drugs but who left her with a moral dilemma. Her mother died when she was about 3 months pregnant.  I'm sure she didn't tell her. Luckily, I know my sister. I grew up knowing her because she was adopted by extended family.  My mom never got over the guilt she felt over giving her up.  Another blow to her already long line of devastating life experiences.  Add all of that to someone with an addictive personality and you get an addict.  She tried more than once to get sober and stay that way.  Unfortunately like many addicts, she never stopped hanging out with her friends who were also alcoholics and addicts themselves.  I believe wholeheartedly my mother needed help for her mental health not just her addiction.  People always want to assume that people make a simple choice to take that first hit or first drink, but they don't want to acknowledge the fact that there are so many layers of issues underneath.  So maybe our society needs to rethink what we do about addiction.  Prison doesn't stop them. Brief stays in rehab and detox don't help but what about trying to give help for what is underneath the drug addiction itself.  The reason they thought to turn to drugs and alcohol in the first place?  I don't have a perfect solution.  I just find it hurtful for someone to so callously say they don't deserve compassion or sympathy.  I'm not saying we should enable them or not hold them accountable for their actions. However, losing the trust of loved ones, not being able to hold a job, having the stigma of being labeled as an addict and treated like crap, or paying the ultimate price with their lives, as was the situation with Phillip Seymour Hoffman or my mother, is not to be ignored when it comes to accountability for their decisions. 

Please keep that in mind.  People with addictions are after all only human. We all make mistakes and bad decisions.  Unfortunately for some it turns into a nightmare that not everyone can easily overcome.  

I kmow I've been MIA for awhile but I was told my blog wasn't working. If it is now and y see thisplease let me know...otherwise, you obviously don't see it so it doesn't matter lol.

Time flies...whether you're having fun or not.
So I noticed I haven't been posting much lately. The usual excuse applies here.  I had so much to do in my regular everyday life that I haven't had the time nor the energy to sit down and write anything worth reading.  Still in class until the first week of May so hopefully this summer I can find something interesting to write about.  I've really just been hanging around playing games on my iPad and reading for classes.  It seems like this year is flying by so fast.  I can't even believe it's already April. I'm trying to figure out what fun things I can do to pass the time this summer if I can't find a job to tide me over.  Definitely planning to try and see my sister and see my best friend.  It's been way too long since I've seen either.  Sometimes you really need that sort of thing to help keep from going insane.  If you live in small town USA like I do (and are a transplant, like I am, from the city) you need to get away once in awhile.  I can't even go to the movies or the mall without having to drive an hour.  I'm surrounded by mountains, farms and two Wal-Marts.....and that's basically it, so I need to find a way to go somewhere other than the middle of BFE to do something fun.  What better way could there be than seeing your best friend or your sister? :)
Anyway, that's all for now folks, I've got nothing witty or funny to talk about....oh, other than the fact that last night I swear I saw a zombie.....ok, it might have been an old woman walking like she SHOULD  be a zombie, but still.  It was freaky.  I really need to stop reading and watching anything zombie related. 

Have a good week!
Play Time's Over, or IS it?
You ever get those days (or weeks, years...maybe even lifetimes) where you just feel like the world is spinning far too fast and erratically that you can't get your footing long enough to feel you've actually accomplished something? Well, I somehow find myself feeling like that yet again.  With gas prices going up I had to drop two of my classes this semester.  Family medical issues (not mine) have also forced things into a different direction.  So here I am yet again trying to figure out exactly what has to be done when it seems like everybody else around me has gotten to a happy point in their lives where they seem to be enjoying themselves.  Don't get me wrong, I like being an adult (sometimes) but sometimes being an adult really sucks.  When I was a kid, making mud pies or dressing up and pretending to be a Disney Princess or  a unicorn or whatever else I could imagine up at the time was the only thing I ever worried about.  Wouldn't that be nice to have a place to go where everything stands still long enough for you to catch your breath and use your imagination again? That's one of the reasons I love the book, The Little Prince, so much.  It appeals to children but there's a message there for us adults that I think could do a lot of people some good to look into.  We forget what it's like to just pretend and imagine something fantastical and magical like we did as kids.  Can't we try to see the world the way a child sees it and believe that it is perfectly logical? Why not?  Why isn't there more ways for adults to play and have fun (without the use of mind altering substances)?  After all doesn't  "All work and no play make Jack a dull boy"?  Why can't I have a magical castle with mythical creatures to protect it?  Why can't I have a sword that transforms me into a cool evil fighting princess like She-ra did?  How many times I imagined myself in a totally made up world when I was a kid can't even be counted.  I loved that.  I believed it.  I wish I still did.  In the meantime, I'm gonna try not to grow up TOO much.

Go out and play!
OMG It has begun, I'm not a little girl anymore! O_O
And so today marks the last year of my 20s.  I don't feel any older than yesterday and yet I feel that biological clock ticking and panic setting in that I'm not going to be that young girl I was when I first began my 20s.  Of course, I'm not that girl anymore even now but it makes it that much more permanent and final lol. I wish I was somewhere other than the middle of B.F.E. so I could have a proper celebration.  Right now it's just me, the crickets, maybe a banjo and my husband and his parents. Which isn't a bad thing, I just feel like there aren't even any options to do anything awesome for your birthday around here. 

The Kitteh! Meet Murphy
Officer Alex J. Murphy (aka Murphy)  

So I introduced my other snuggle butt so here's my kitty, Murphy.  Yes, his name is technically what the caption says as he's named after my favorite cyborg cop, Robocop.  Of course we call him Murphy.  He's a little shit that likes to sleep on my pillow and sometimes on my head.  Once in awhile he wants to lie with one paw on my cheek like he's hugging my head.  He's cute and purrs louder than any cat I've ever had.  And yet, he's the biggest attention whore! I mean, he will be all up on your nuts when you're trying to get work done.  But I guess it's just my "Ace Ventura" gene once again showing itself.  He'll follow me around all over the house.  He even wants to be in my lap when I'm trying to have a private moment on the damn toilet! lol.  He demands it.  So, there's Murphy my sometimes lovable and always needy kitteh!

I think he was watching Pineapple Express here. lol.

So there's Murphy :) Enjoy! 

Napoleon: Adventures of a French Bulldog
I make this banana hat look good and you know it!

So here's a picture I took this week of Napoleon in the hat that came with his banana costume (from two Halloween's ago).  He doesn't really like stuff on his head but my husband decided to put the hat on him just to see if he'd wear it.  This is one of the pictures I managed to get of him looking all smug.  Seriously, I cannot love this little man enough haha.  He's so funny.  Personally, it made me think of a smurf when I saw the hat on him haha.  I don't know what I'd do without my stinky little Frenchie. 

It's hard work being a Frenchie. 

Just thought I'd share the fun :)

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